The State filed a petition to terminate a named man’s parental rights of the minor, A.S.V.. The petition alleged that the natural mother had irrevocably surrendered her parental rights to A.S.V.. The same day, she had named the man as A.S.V.’s natural father in an affidavit of parentage.
The petition to terminate the man’s parental rights alleged that he had failed to show a reasonable degree of interest, concern, or responsibility as to the welfare of A.S.V.. During the first 30 days of her life or thereafter for the first four and one-half months of her life. Further, the man was an unfit parent within the meaning of the Adoption Act. Also, that A.S.V. was without a parent or legal guardian. The man had ‘shown an intent to forego his parental rights.’
The State requested that the trial court declare the man an unfit parent. And terminate all of his parental rights to A.S.V..
The man testified that he had not been involved with the child because did not believe himself to be child’s father. He said that he had been told by the child’s mother during pregnancy that he was not the child’s father. He testified that he was not told by the Department of Children and Family Services that he could see the child or obtain a paternity blood test.
But, he did know that the mother had named him as the father in her affidavit. He was considered to be the father by the Department. But, he had advised the Department that he did not want the responsibility for the child. He had encouraged and participated in the adoption process.
His parental rights were terminated. He appealed.
The appellate court agreed with the trial court. Even extreme circumstances of a parent’s life that made it difficult for the parent to maintain a relationship with, or to visit the child, do not excuse a complete lack of communication or interest in the child. Especially for purposes of an unfitness charge. For failure to demonstrate a reasonable degree of interest, concern, or responsibility as to the welfare of the newborn child during the first 30 days after its birth.
In re ADOPTION OF A.S.V, 268 Ill.App.3d 549.
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